From her high school days, a patient of mine spent a good bit of her life waking up to a cup of coffee. The caffeine helped her balance her academic and social life adequately. By college, she relied on coffee, caffeine shots, and energy drinks to keep her going. By her mid-30s, a couple of kids, and career later, her cheap, synthetic energy fixes were no longer cutting it. She was trapped in an exhausted body with a racing heart and a racing mind that could not put two halves of a thought together to save its life.
Her doctor prescribed her a stimulant to help her get through the day. It drastically improved her energy levels and restored her ability to balance her busy life – until she started crashing again. The half-life of her stimulant was 9-14 hours. In other words, if she took her dose at 8 am, by 10 pm, the stimulant only ran half its course throughout her body. Naturally, her body couldn’t shut down, so she experienced the uphill battle of insomnia. Her doctor prescribed her a simple sedative to help her body shut down.
Just a few months ago, this client came to two sobering realizations:
- She was in a vicious cycle that she could not break. Both pills needed each other in order for her to function. She was feeling like a robot.
- This cycle would only intensify. Her energy depended on a cup of coffee, then a few, then energy shots, then prescription pills. Eventually, her prescriptions would need to get stronger as her body became acclimated to each new stimulant. Her body might adjust to the sedative, resulting in higher doses and eventually new, stronger medications.
Why Should You Get More Sleep?
In a world obsessed with packing schedules to the minute, and getting to “the next level,” you have to pause and wonder why you should consider one more priority. We feel fine enough until we don’t and the medications that patch our symptoms accelerate the damage our sleepless lives lead toward.
Looking at your daily life, have you noticed the red flags of declining health due to sleeplessness?
- Abnormal/Accelerated Heart Rate
- Brain Fog
- Increased Food/Environmental Allergies and Sensitivities
- Poor Memory
- Dull Skin, Hair, and Nails
- Yellow or Greying Eyes
There are many more warning signs. Why? Because your body heals itself when you are asleep. Your gut, your hormones, your glymphatic system – your body’s housekeeping agency – and your brain are all resting, rejuvenating, and cleansing when you are sleep. Your breathing patterns change to dispose of the waste your body is trying to purge, resulting in:
- A Healthier Gut
- Less Hormonal Disruption
- More Energy When You’re Awake
- Clearer Thinking
- Improved Gut Health (fewer allergies and sensitivities)
- A Competent Immune System (less disease and illness)
- Improved Physique
- Faster Memory
When you’re getting enough sleep, you are keeping weight off, and reducing your risk for cancer, diabetes, and chronic mental disorders.
This might seem like a dream, but I assure you this can be your reality! You must ask yourself three questions:
- Why don’t you have energy?
- Why can’t you sleep?
- How can you encourage more sleep naturally?
Why Don’t You Have Energy?
It is common knowledge that sleep gives us energy. Other factors include diet, hormonal levels, and the amount of stress you’re under on a daily basis. If you are waking up to a draining, unfulfilled life, or are immersed in toxic situations in your daily life, those are naturally soul-sucking sources of stress and fatigue. Waking up can be difficult when you do not feel like it is worth doing.
When addressing this lack of energy, some people can implement some supplements and fresher foods in their diets and feel like they’re in a good place. That is awesome! They have clearer thinking, and their body is on its way to restoring its health. However, it is perfectly valid scientifically, emotionally, and spiritually if you need more change than dietary.
One of my dear friends finally made the switch to a completely organic and gluten-free diet filled with whole foods and ancient grains. She experienced clearer thinking and felt lighter. Nevertheless, she still struggled to wake up and get out of bed. While she felt better she still felt off. After assessing her stressors, she decided to quit her job. From her superiors to select coworkers, it was a toxic environment, and her tasks were meaningless to her.
She did some research and discovered a new job that wasn’t just about the pay. She would have done this job for free if bills were not a factor. From the moment she transferred jobs, she was excited to wake up! She was energized by the purpose she felt in her new role. After several months, she realized she wasn’t reaching for crappy or pointless snacks as comfort, she wasn’t drinking nearly as much, and she hardly ever needed an alarm to wake up.
You might not realize how much stress affects your daily decisions for the worst. Identifying your stressors in addition to a healthy diet is guaranteed to improve your energy levels.
Why Can’t You Sleep?
We live in a fast-paced society. You are expected to juggle each child’s schedule, your own appointments, church functions, work functions, and more. Blocking out time for yourself can feel nearly impossible, but it is necessary.
Do you believe you have enough time in the day? I used to roll my eyes at the scarcity versus abundance mindsets, but there is something to this. I always circle back to mindset. Your mind is your greatest weapon. You chose whether the weapon is used in your favor or against you.
When it comes to time, you might repeatedly tell yourself things like, “I wish I had more time in the day.” or “I wish I could multiply myself to accomplish more, faster.”
Think of your closet. When getting ready for an event, is it that you don’t have anything to wear, or that you’re so used to looking at the same things, they appear mundane? I know I have more clothes than hangers and I never truly have “nothing to wear” I just wish a new and more exciting option would appear.
Your time is like your closet. You might not have enough time to put yourself first because your days are crowded with less exciting or important events and tasks. It is up to you to create a balanced lifestyle that makes your sleep a priority. When every commitment comes with pressure, it might be difficult to pick what is important. I give you a quick blueprint here.
If your problem is not time, but the inability to fall asleep, there are another set of questions you can ask yourself to get closer to solving the problem at the root.
- Are you worrying or overthinking?
- Are your hormones confused?
- Is your circadian rhythm off? (Your internal clock)
- Are you active enough?
- Are you deficient or overabundant in vital nutrients?
At this point, you may consider working with me to get to the bottom of the science behind your sleeplessness.
How Can You Get Better Sleep Naturally?
You might know not to eat sugar before bed, but do you know the hidden sources of sugar? You’re not just avoiding sweets, but a plethora of drinks, and foods that break down into sugar.
After 2020, more of our lives are on screens than at any other time in history. They are a stimulant. Just like a prescription stimulant, the LED lights on our devices are triggering neurological stimulation long after we’ve shut them off.
Prioritizing sleep is counter-cultural. Subsequently, your new habits might be as well.
You can begin with lifestyle changes:
- Declutter your calendar (It’s okay to not do it all)
- Eat fresh whole foods
- Exercise at least 30 mins per day
For your evening routine, you can incorporate:
- Magnesium Glycinate
- Calming Tea (chamomile, passionflower, lavender)
- Diffusing Calming Oils (lavender, bergamot, sandalwood)
- Black Out Curtains
- Eliminating LED Lights 1 Hr Before Bed
- White Noise (fan, waves, lullabies)
Doing the same thing every day within an hour of going to bed helps your body recognize cues that you are ready to wind down and begin the healing process.
If your sleep life is slipping through your fingertips, schedule a consultation so we can work through this together! Remember you are worth it.
“Sakinah opened my eyes to the dangers sitting in my pantry. It amazed me how quickly I saw results while working with her. I am more optimistic than ever about succeeding in my health!” Erica S.
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